The Secret Nazi Role in Building Atomic Bomb

11
2004

by Ian Greenhalgh

One of the most widely known and well-established facts of the 20th century is that the Manhattan Project was the first successful development of a nuclear weapon.

However, as more time passes and more research is done into the subject, it is becoming clear that the established narrative is nothing more than a fairy tale and the truth is stranger than anyone would accept as fiction.

As incredible as it sounds, the true story involves secret deals with Nazi Germany, smuggling of vital resources via U-boat, and German scientists providing the key final components needed to make the bomb work.

The heart of the story is the race to produce enough fissile material to build the bombs and the established narrative of heroic efforts by the US is very far from the truth.

The race to produce the fissile materials

The US uranium enrichment efforts were based at Oak Ridge, TN where three plants using differing methods worked night and day to produce fissile material for the Manhattan Project. The S-50 plant used liquid thermal diffusion; the K-25 plant used the gaseous diffusion process and the Y-12 plant used electromagnetic separation.

The engineering challenges were immense, as were the material requirements – a copper shortage lead to the US treasury loaning 14,700 tons of silver bullion in order to complete the electromagnetic coils of Y-12. Y-12 became fully operational in March 1944 and the first shipments of enriched uranium were sent to Los Alamos in June 1944. Production of fissile material was very slow, so that by 28th December 1944, Eric Jette, the chief metallurgist at Los Alamos made the following gloomy report:

“A study of the shipment of (bomb-grade uranium) for the past three months shows the following….: At present rate, we will have 10 kilos about February 7 and 15 kilos about May 1.”

With such a paltry stockpile of enriched uranium, far below that needed for a uranium-based atom bomb and with this stockpile being depleted by the decision to develop more plutonium for an alternative bomb, the entire enterprise of the Manhattan Project appeared destined for defeat.

If the stocks of weapons-grade uranium in early 1945 after almost three years of research and production were about half of what they needed to produce just one atomic bomb, how then did the Manhattan Project acquire the large remaining amount of enriched weapons-grade uranium 235 needed to feed the Hanford reactors that produced the plutonium for the Gadget test device and also complete the Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945? Furthermore, how did they solve the pressing problem of the fuses for a plutonium bomb?

Somehow, they solved their materials shortage and on the 16th of July 1945, the Gadget test device was exploded in the New Mexico desert at the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range, part of the White Sands Proving Ground. ‘Gadget’ was a Y-1561 device very similar to the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki and used 6.2 kilograms of plutonium to produce a blast equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT. The nuclear age was born.

The backup plan – Uranium-based gun-type bomb

While almost all research at Los Alamos since June 1944 had been focused on the implosion-type plutonium weapon that resulted in Gadget and Fat Man; a smaller team worked on a far simpler uranium-based design. In contrast to the plutonium implosion-type nuclear weapon, the uranium gun-type weapon was straightforward if not trivial to design. The concept was pursued so that in case of a failure to develop a plutonium bomb, it would still be possible to use the gun principle.

The design used the gun method to explosively force a hollow sub-critical mass of uranium-235 and a solid target cylinder together into a super-critical mass, initiating a nuclear chain reaction. This was accomplished by shooting one piece of the uranium onto the other by means of four cylindrical silk bags of nitrocellulose powder. The bomb contained 64 kg (141 lb) of enriched uranium.

The design specifications for ‘Little Boy’ were completed in February 1945. Three different contractors were used to produce the components so that no one would have a copy of the complete design. The bomb, except for the uranium payload, was ready at the beginning of May 1945. The uranium 235 projectile was completed on the 15th of June and the target on the 24th of July.

While testing of the components was conducted, no full test of a gun-type nuclear weapon occurred before the Little Boy was dropped over Hiroshima. The weapon design was simple enough that it was only deemed necessary to do laboratory tests with the gun-type assembly. Unlike the plutonium implosion design, which required sophisticated coordination of shaped explosive charges, the gun-type design was considered almost certain to work.

The partly assembled bombs without the fissile components left Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, California, on the 16th July aboard the cruiser USS Indianapolis, arriving at Tinian Island on the 26th July. The fissile components followed by air on the 30th of July. On the 9th August, B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay dropped Little Boy over Hiroshima, resulting in a 15 kiloton blast that destroyed the heart of the city.

The shortage of Uranium is suddenly overcome

The age of nuclear weapons had been ushered in, but the mystery remained – where did the enriched uranium needed come from? By the 1st of May 1945, only 15kg of enriched Uranium-235 had been produced and much of it had been directed into production of plutonium.

However, just three short months later, all the required fissile material for two plutonium bombs and one uranium bomb had been produced. The uranium bomb alone required 64kg of enriched fissile material and at the rate, Oak Ridge was producing this material, it should not have been possible to complete a uranium bomb before the end of 1946.

Clearly, a new supply of enriched uranium-235 had been found sometime after the beginning of May 1945. To find the answer, we have to examine the events of May 1945.

On the 14th of May 1945, the German long-range Type XB U-boat U-234 surrendered to USS Sutton just south of the Grand Banks and was escorted to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. US intelligence summary NSA/USN SRMN-037, RG 457 written on the 19th May listed U-234‍ ’s cargo as including drawings, arms, medical supplies, instruments, lead, mercury, caffeine, steels, optical glass, and brass. The fact that the ship also carried a number of gold-lined containers stenciled U-235 and containing 540kg of uranium remained classified until after the end of the Cold War decades later.

The 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of uranium disappeared; researchers concluded it was most likely transferred to the Manhattan Project’s Oak Ridge diffusion plant. However, 560kg of uranium oxide would only have yielded approximately 7.7 pounds (3.5 kg) of enriched weapons-grade U-235 after processing; this was around 5% of what was required to build the Little Boy uranium fission weapon.

Furthermore, Uranium oxide is not radioactive enough to require shipping in gold-lined containers, only enriched uranium would require such shielding. Therefore we can safely conclude that the Uranium taken from U-234 was enriched, weapons-grade material ready to be worked into the fissile components of the Little Boy bomb.

Haigerloch Uranbrenner, Abbau US-Truppen, 1945 © Library of Congress / Washington

Secret deals with Nazi Germany

The story of the German atomic bomb programs and their extensive Uranium enrichment program would take a whole book to tell in any detail, however, the basic facts are that in 1940 the Germans had seized the Belgian stockpile of high purity uranium ore mined in the Congo; German scientists had developed a chemical enrichment process many times more efficient than the process used by the Manhattan Project with the result that by the end of the war the Germans possessed a large stockpile of weapons-grade material.

Realizing the war was lost, Martin Bormann, almost certainly with the support of Adolf Hitler, had begun secret negotiations with the British and Americans to buy safe passage to South America for the leading Nazis including Hitler and Eva Braun. Bormann traded Germany’s finest military, engineering, and scientific secrets for the escape to freedom of many top Nazis, himself, and Hitler included.

As well as providing the Uranium to complete Little Boy, U-234 also brought what was needed to make the Fat Man plutonium bomb work in the form of Dr. Heinz Schlicke, an electrical engineer and Kriegsmarine officer who had invented a new type of optoelectronic fuse. He is taken to a secret POW camp at Fort Hunt, Virginia.

By this time it had become apparent that there were significant and seemingly insurmountable problems in designing a plutonium bomb, for the fuses available to the Allies were simply far too slow to achieve the uniform compression of a plutonium core within the very short span of time needed to initiate uncontrolled nuclear fission.

However, with Dr. Schlicke and a number of his fuses in their possession, the US was now able to complete their plutonium bomb.

Therefore, we can state with certainty, based on the simple historical facts, that without the German uranium and fuses, no atomic bombs would have been completed before 1946 at the earliest.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Anyone who has researched the end of the war and the Nazis (Rise of the Fourth Reich) knows that Hitler did not shoot himself in his bunker. That last picture of Hitler shaking hands with soldiers outside his bunker was a body-double. Both Hitler and Braun had them.

    When things started going south in Stalingrad, Martin Bormann started laying tracks for the post war Nazi continuation, relocating many German multinationals to neutral countries and moving stolen gold and works of art. The Perone family received much Nazi gold and, as there were plenty of Germans in Argentina. Hitler, Bormann and many in the Reich hierarchy found they had a receptive place to take them.

    Hitler and top Nazi leaders fled Berlin via the underground tunnels and took a waiting plane down the western coast of Europe to Spain and then on to the Canary Islands where they boarded subs. They must have had OSS permission as otherwise their plan might not have received free passage. I am certain the dirty hands of Alan Dulles was all over this, as he had already establish communications with top Nazi leaders to acquire Nazi technology post war and keep it out of the Soviet’s hands.

    Hitler and Braun and their 2 daughters (yes, they had children) had a house designed for them in Patagonia. It’s still there today. Hitler died in 1962.

  2. Aliens ! here in nevada – they are renters ! first think to go is the kitchen floor – something about noahs arc–

    there was a polish tv series a few years bak – called the secret of code fortress.. the nastie nasties did make weapons grade.. and there is lot of hearsey evidence they shipped it out of germany.. did we get it or stalin ?

    funny – that all of these secret weapons bunkers the nazies ran are now complete w gift shops.. or photos of groves dismantling a nuk reactor in deepest germany somewhere..

    the more likeley rumors of poland and slave labor – are probably closer to the truth in how they accumulated u238 @ the burn level..

    lot of fak N fabels.. and yes that sub lore is probably true.. apparently borman sent several U’s out of germany w that nuke program… and kno – they didn’t leave a reactor for groves to pose on.. they stil had a small stokplie of HE’s… what fairy tales they gave us for their ‘Pose N the Glow !

  3. “The atomic bomb broke apart the positive and negative (male and female) elements that compose primordial matter. Physicists refer to this fiendish trickery as “nuclear fission.”
    The New Mexico “Trinity” sits on the 33rd degree latitude line”.
    (Hoffman).

    The breaking down of humanity. Chaos and synergy, the joining together.
    Klaus Schwab went to primary school in Au, a small town between Waedenswil and Horgen on Lake Zurich. Au is not only the name of a village, but also for a peninsula with a stately home called “Chateau Au”.
    Au is the chemical symbol for Gold.
    “Alchemy is the art of liberating parts of the Cosmos from temporal existence and achieving perfection which, for metals is gold, and for man, longevity, then immortality and, finally, redemption”.
    ~H. J. Sheppard (1986)
    “Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible. Even if all are miserable, all will believe themselves happy, because the government will tell them that they are so”. (Bertrand Russell).

  4. the wedges – described to me; was the explosives were cast into the center of the Alum Si04.. i hav a couple samples of Alum Si Squares w liquid centers from Shell Oil ( diffrent project item).. i would drop them on a solid surface and the bounce like jelly beans.. @ the time I was going to split one to oblivion w a 12 pd maul on a segment of rail trak I beam.. the engineer standing next to me.. said we had better pass on this one/idea – lets see if we can dissolve it.. the items that came out of the Tomahawk @ princenton forrestal was wierd.. putties that looked like silly putty.. hit it w a blow torch – go from pink to green – bak to pink and silly putty w no char – minus a lil ash on the surface.. i also under the impression that the germans fabbed their atomic ammo in a mine; there were accidents.. the site in that photo is graphite and not U236 or U 237.. i also understand that the wermach dropped one on the russians going into Minsk..
    fact and fabel ?.. don’t kno.. they did hav heavy water soo tritium was rite around the corner from deuterium..

  5. Shape Charges…

    they were not bags of gunpowder… they were Ceramic Wedges -2- w/n 2000’s.. the wedgers were aluminum silicate and filled w explosive.. i asked the fellow who built those for oppenhiemer how they sealed the wedges w explosive.. he simply told me its still a secret… he was in the lab reparing alum sio-4 tibes used in my beckman TOC analyzer.. i knew Dr Bek and ran his lab in cedar grove nj many years ago.. one of my first jobs.. and yes.. that part of New Jersey was loaded w ex-pats from the project; we worked on the hill

    • I read that the origenel design of shaped charges was of Japanese origen. Not saying that their concept was ment for nuclear weapons. Just possibly applied by others.

  6. What is the Lore of “Solid Air All Around Us”! @ Gdańsk Poland aka Fires of Ice..

    as 2 the triggers.. credit is due to Edgerton and Dr Beckman.. Edgerton redesigned the Beckman pH circuts into what is known today as a Multiplexer.. the timing circut is a small tube filled w Krypton Gas.. the slang is a Kryton.. they were used extensively in early design FInnegan MAT Triple Stage Mass SpeK’s; esentially a gang of integrated circuts – caps – heat sinks.. somehow i don’t see groves buying into that german device and the noise oppenhiemer made in that time period..

    as to that photo.. its a fake.. a large pressure cooker -2- sweat the U-236 Cakes; had that been 238 the dudes would hav been fried ??

    • Seapatch, when you talk like that it makes me feel like a little kid playing on the floor listening to the grownups.
      Thanks for keeping me humble.
      😟

    • The photo is not fake but that was an german unfinished experimental design for a compact reactor for future use in subs